Kawamura tapped for state ag secretary

"A.G. Kawamura is widely respected for his experience as a third-generation grower and shipper. His depth of knowledge of California's agricultural industry will be vital to restoring the California dream," said Schwarzenegger.

Prior to serving as secretary of Food and Agriculture, Kawamura was appointed as chair of the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service's Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Fruits and Vegetables. He is also the past chairman of Western Growers Association, has served as president of the Orange County Farm Bureau and is a past member of the California Strawberry Commission.

The 47-year-old Kawamura is also a founding partner of Orange County Produce, LLC, where he manages the company's 600 acres of growing and harvesting operations within the shrinking urban boundaries of Southern California. His family farming operation consists of several noncontiguous parcels of land in Orange County, San Bernardino and San Diego. He began his agricultural career as a beekeeper, a roadside stand operator and then entered the family business as a produce salesman for Western Marketing Co. in 1978.

Kawamura graduated from UC Berkeley in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative Literature, English and Spanish. He is also a graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership Program and participated in the Citizen's Network for Foreign Affairs agricultural outreach program to the Ukraine in 1997.

"I'm honored to be appointed by Governor. Schwarzenegger and to be a part of his team. Agriculture in California faces many challenges, but I know Schwarzenegger is someone who will listen to the rancher, growers and shippers of California to help relieve the overtaxation and overregulation that we face as farmers," said Kawamura.

The Department of Food and Agriculture oversees programs to assist and promote California's agriculture industry. The department operates as an advocate for the industry. Approximately 1,800 employees work for the department with a budget of $270 million.

Kawamura's appointment requires Senate confirmation. He is a Republican.

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